Contact tracing is being touted as one of the few ways where countries can regain control of the COVID-19 crisis and begin to reopen businesses and communities safely. Americans, however, are quickly growing skittish of conducting contact tracing through mobile apps controlled by untrusted entities.
In a new poll from Ipsos and Axios, a majority of U.S. adults are unlikely to use a contact tracing mobile phone app if it’s established by cell phone providers, major tech companies or the federal government. Only the CDC and public health officials, with 51 percent of Americans saying they’ll use a contact tracing app established by them, captured a majority of trust.
Many experts agree that a strong contact tracing system can turn the tide on COVID-19 outbreaks and keep them low while businesses and communities reopen. By recording individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and identifying who they’ve come into contact with, swift action can be taken to make sure the spread of the virus is limited.
Still, the resistance in giving away private health information to the government or large companies highlights the distrust felt by Americans and the constant fear of misinformation. Time will tell whether Americans’ increasing urge to get outside and go back to work will triumph over their caution of sharing private health data.